Blackpool is hotly tipped to become the UK’s answer to Las Vegas. Britain’s only super casino licence is soon to be up for grabs after a rather slow start following the UK’s Gambling Bill reforms.
A lot has changes in the UK gambling industry since the year 2000 when Trevor Hemmings, owner of Pontins and one of the UK’s biggest leisure tycoons announced ambitious plans to develop a string of casinos in sunny Blackpool. His first planned casino to be the Egyptian themed PharaohsPalace in a nod to Las Vegas casinos The Luxor and the legendary CeasersPalace.
For the following five years, Blackpool planners have been waiting with baiting breath to claim the UK gambling crown. Plans have been drawn up and councillors have been waiting patiently for the go-ahead. Last weekend their Vegas dreams took one step closer to reality. The licence for the first Las Vegas style super casino is hotly tipped to be won by the Lancashire seaside resort. The move would bring much needed investment to a town that has been long looking into ideas for regeneration with figures.
Leading the campaign is Doug Garrett, the chief executive of the towns regeneration company Re-Blackpool and dubbed by the press ‘Mr Blackpool’. It is he who the big casino operators will have to impress if Blackpool does win the license (lucky man!).
Blackpool has long been seen as the Las Vegas of the UK and is seen by many in the industry as the natural choice to kick-start the UK casino revolution. Rival applications include Glasgow, Solihull and Southend.
So who gets to choose? The government set up The Casino Advisory Panel, an independent body to help decide. They will make their formal recommendations to the government by the end of next year with a formal decision due in early 2007. As always here at Jackpot.co.uk we will keep you informed…